So… are you tired of talking about this “challenging” time in our history? Yes… we are too! We’re over the top tired. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore it hoping it will go away. It won’t. If we could close our eyes, wish it away, and it would all disappear—it would be gone by now. But it isn’t. So that means we need to deal with it in the best way we can. And as followers of Christ we know that God has some type of redemptive plans He wants to accomplish in and through us. A good part of that plan involves improving our marriage relationships. (We’re sure that’s always on His agenda. Why else would He make marriage a living picture of Christ’s love for the church?)
So we’ve been working on our own marriage; plus we’ve been looking for ways to help other spouses make the most of their shut-in, isolating time. We’re trying not to focus on the negatives. As a result we’re continually redirecting our focus to: “how can we make the best of this?”
So, below we have “10 Ways” we can do this. Debi Walter (from The Romantic Vineyard ministry) is allowing us to share her ideas here. Plus, we add a few of our own Insights in [brackets], and important scriptures. Then we finish this off (on our web site) by sharing a video with Joni Eareckson Tada and her husband Ken. In it they share their tips concerning “Marriage and Quarantine.” They share what has worked for them and what hasn’t. We pray this will challenge, and help you in your marriage.
NOT Wasting This Time
First off, Debi Walter gives this marriage tip:
“This time can have benefits for our marriages if we don’t waste it.
1. “Take note of the ways you get on each other’s nerves. This is an indicator of an area in need of attention. Make time to talk about it when you are undistracted. See if you can come to a place of understanding. Repent of sinful attitudes if needed, and move beyond this speed bump.”
[Steve and I make a concerted effort to “keep short accounts.” This means we try to catch ourselves as soon as we can to work through our issues. If one or both of us says or does something we shouldn’t, we proactively catch ourselves early on, and “make it right” between us. This involves repenting, talking about it, asking for forgiveness, forgiving, and letting the matter go so we move on and enjoy whatever time the Lord gives to us.
Sadly, we just lost a friend this week. His wife couldn’t be with him as he took his last breath. How tragic! But we thank God that they were on very loving terms with each other when he died. Yet it brings home all the more the following scriptures:
“Look carefully how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)]
2. “Encourage some of your time to pursue hobbies. I love to cook, so this time has been very beneficial for my hobby, and Tom loves to eat. It’s a win/win!”
[If you don’t have a hobby, look for one you can pursue. Look for things to do that will bring a smile to your hearts. We’re doing extra reading and walking these days, and more. Ken and Joni point to an important reminder: “Stop dulling your heart by watching too much T.V. and read instead.” Yes! We agree because it can do just that! Fight the temptation and remember:
“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:25)]
3. “Practice kindness. Choose your words carefully when having a serious discussion. Find ways to say it with a smile—like we used to instruct our children.”
[We understand all too well that sometimes it’s not easy to “practice kindness” when you’re continually with each other. But it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes I have to tell myself (even yell within), “Be kind… be kind… BE KIND!” I know it’s my responsibility to do this—not Steve’s. When we’re most tempted NOT to be kind is when we need this reminder the most. Remember, we’re told to:
[“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14)]
Here’s another way to help your marriage during this time:
4. “Remember to extend grace when your spouse is struggling.”
[That’s a great reminder! Have you ever had your spouse extend you grace and forbearance when you don’t deserve it? Isn’t it about the most wonderful gift he/she could give you? That is an example of amazing love—just a little taste of the love the Lord gives us. When your spouse is struggling, look for ways to bless him or her. As you do, you are being God’s colleague in showing love to your spouse. And what a wonderful blessing this can be for both of you!]
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” (Colossians 3:12)
5. “Pray for each other together or apart.”
[We count it a privilege to pray together and to pray for each other. We know this has been a marriage saver for us. And during this time we have been praying all the more. Each of us needs this; our marriages need this; our country needs this, and our world. We’re praying for revival in each of our hearts and throughout the world. Every night (sometimes in the morning) at 7:14 we pray 2 Chronicles 7:14 together. We make that scripture the foundation of our prayer time together. We encourage you to join us!
[“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18) “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)]
[Those are great books! We highly recommend you read them. And there are many more, including our book: 7 Essentials to Grow Your Marriage! you can read aloud to each other. Or you can read them silently and share things that impressed you in the book you read—even if the book isn’t about marriage. You’re enriching your own relationship as you share together what you’re learning.]
7. “Don’t neglect date night. Order food delivery; or go out to a restaurant that’s opened to support their staff and community. Make love as often as you can.”
[YES! And if you’re stuck for ideas for dating ideas during this challenging time, we have lots of suggestions for you in the following article: IN HOME DATES WHEN YOU’RE QUARANTINED TOGETHER.]
Also, it could help to:
8. “Limit how much news you watch or listen to. It can become very depressing to constantly fill our minds with the latest controversy surrounding COVID-19.”
[We totally agree! And that goes for other newsy info you can overload on! Especially cut back on how late you watch, read, or listen to the news. We have made it our rule not to indulge in anything heavy past 8:00. (And sometimes we cut news off at 6 or 7:00.) We found that it can become difficult to sleep when we load up on serious subjects before bedtime.
[So we back off, and try to decompress. That way it’s easier for us to get ourselves ready for a relaxing night’s sleep. Since we started making this our nightly routine, it’s amazing the peace we experience as we close our eyes to sleep. Most nights we turn praise music on, or listen to Majestyradio.com or something like that. We put our minds on:
[“…Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” And as we do, we’re promised, “Practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)]
9. “Play worship music and sing along. Let the words fill your heart and mind with God’s peace.”
Lastly, it is (wisely) suggested to:
10. “Give each other space—time to be alone and relax.”
[In Isaiah 30:15 Israel was told: “…In quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Sadly, they “were unwilling.” We encourage you to get to that place everyday you can—even if you only have pockets of time available to do so.
[This may be a challenge when the kids are home—noisy as can be! But be creative. It’s such an important gift to give each other. We need to spend time relaxing together, and time to relax separately so we are restored and refreshed, and strengthened.]
So… in addition to the tips Debi (and we) gave, below is a link to a past Marriage Insight with some additional marriage tips for connecting together and NOT wasting this challenging time in marriage. Please glean through the info:
We’re closing this Insight with a link to a video featuring Joni and Ken Tada. Please watch, laugh, and pay attention to their tips. They’ve learned these lessons by living them out and learning as the Lord directs.
We’re closing this Insight with something Debi Walter wrote at the end of her blog on this subject. That’s because it expresses our hearts completely!
“It is a blessing to have each other to be home with each day. I remind myself often of friends who would love nothing more than to have their spouse with them still. Let’s not prove the old adage true—you never know what you have until it is gone.
“We know what a gift it is to be married, the key is to show it in how we live day by day.”
With all our hearts we hope you will and pray that God empowers you to do so!
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
We give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below to do so:
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